Handwritten in Latin by a number of scribes in a script inspired by the court of Charlemagne, this rare and beautiful treasure from the first millennium of Christianity, is one of the gems in the renowned collection of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. The Institute is dedicated to transmitting the inheritance of the Middle Ages to new generations; to deepening our understanding of the life and ideals of Western culture in the time of its first youth," said Jonathan Bengtson, Director of Library and Archives, University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto & Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
The Homiliary manuscript was copied on parchment by at least three different scribes at the important medieval Abbey of St. Martin in Tours less than 100 years after having been composed by Heiric of Auxerre and is the oldest known copy of Heiric’s original text.
Bergendal MS 50. Manuscript in Latin on vellum. 91 folios collating 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-11, 12, 13². Page size 320 x 255 mm with a writing space of 250 x 190 mm. Two columns each of 250 x 85 mm with 37 lines. Written by at least three scribes above the top line in dark brown ink in fine Caroline minuscule script. Many two line intials in red. One 18 line initial in dark brown with interlace and ornamental penwork on folio 1r. Many headings and intials in red uncial lettering. Foliated in pencil in a late 20th century hand. Ruled in blind with vertical bounding lines running from top to bottom of page. There are two vertical bounding lines on each side of writing space about 9 mm apart. Occasional guiding pricks survive at top of page. Guiding lines run inside the vertical lines. Sections are not numbered and catchwords have not survived
St. Heiric (Eric) of Auxerre, a Benedictine, composed this book of homilies around the years 865-870. He was a student of Lupus of Ferrière, John Scotus Erigena, and Haymo of Auxerre. In turn, he was the teacher of Remigius of Auxerre. This manuscript is a copy then of a homiliary done less than a century before. It is the oldest copy known to exist. The second oldest extant copy, which derived from MS 50, is in Paris at the Bibliothèque Nationale under shelf mark nouvelles acquisitions latines 464. It is dated c.1150. In a manner of speaking, this copy is a relatively recent discovery which is only just becoming known to students of homilaries in general and St. Heiric in particular. For many years the manuscript was virtually unknown, existing as it did in the Phillips collection in complete and utter disorder
Acquired from H.P. Kraus of New York
1. On the basis of the script, which resembles that of Vatican Reginensis Latinus 215 which is ascribed to Tours and dated after 877, and which resembles too the scripts of Bergendal MS 46, also done in Tours c.1025, it can be affirmed with a fair degree of certainty that this codex was prepared in the scriptorium of the Abbey of Saint Martin in Tours c.950. This scriptorium was founded c.795 by Alcuin of York (735-804). 2. On the basis of marginal notations was likely once in the possession of the Abbey of St. Julian in Tours. 3. See folio 91v indicating the ex libris of Guillaume Debenay dated Easter 1475. 4. Téchener, Paris bookseller, who sold to 5. Payne & Foss of Pall Mall, London who in 1834 or 1835 sold to 6. Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), his MS 6653/21.631. 7. Acquired from Phillipps estate in 1945 by William H. Robinson Ltd. who tried to sell through 8. Sotheby's sale, London, November 29, 1966, lot 41, when presumably bought in [sic]. 9. In 1978 sold by William H. Robinson Ltd., 16 Pall Mall, London, to H.P. Kraus, New York, as part of a one million dollar transaction comprising the remainder of manuscripts from the Phillipps collection. 10. H.P. Kraus of New York their catalogue 153, item 4
one page number per two pages - care was taken to ensure all pages are accounted for.